Michael Chiarello, a celebrity of food TV and a long-established Bay Area chef and restaurateur, died Friday at the age of 61.
The cause, according to a statement from his company, Gruppo Chiarello, was anaphylactic shock, after Chiarello had sought treatment for an acute allergic reaction at a Napa hospital.
According to the Napa Valley Register, Chiarello had been hospitalized for a week at Providence Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa prior to his death.
The chef-owner of Bottega in Yountville and Coqueta in San Francisco, Chiarello had for years been the chef at Tra Vigne in St. Helena, where he established himself as a master of seasonal Italian cooking.
He was the host of Season by Season, his first cooking show, on KQED, which premiered in 2001. That was followed by several other shows, including Easy Entertaining With Michael Chiarello on the Food Network, which debuted in 2003.
He was also the author of a number of cookbooks including The Tra Vigne Cookbook: Season in the California Wine Country (1999), Napa Stories (2001), and At Home with Michael Chiarello (2005). The Bottega cookbook was released in 2010.
"We deeply mourn the loss of our beloved patriarch Michael," said Gruppo Chiarello in a statement. "His culinary brilliance, boundless creativity, and unwavering commitment to family were at the core of his being. He brought people together through the joy of shared meals, fostering lasting memories around the table."
The statement continues, “As we navigate this profound loss, we hold dear the moments we cherished with him, both in his kitchens and in our hearts. His legacy will forever live on in the love he poured into every dish and the passion he instilled in all of us to savor life's flavors.”
Chef Christopher Kostow of Meadowood, who took over the former Tra Vigne space to open Charter Oak in 2017, tells the Chronicle, "His book ‘Seasons in the Wine Country’ was one of the top few books I read as a young cook that made me want to be a chef. He was so far ahead of others in relation to expressing seasonality. He did it before other people did it. Full stop."
Chiarello made headlines in 2016 when some current and former employees sued him for sexual harrassment. Chiarello denied the claims and the suit was settled out of court.
Chiarello leaves behind ex-wife Eileen Marie Gordon, son Aidan, and daughters Margaux, Felicia, and Giana. In lieu of flowers, his family requests donations to Meals on Wheels.
Photo: Curtis & Renee via Wikimedia